Baby can be taken off life support, judge rules

UK court says hospital can end treatment for Charlie Gard against his parents’ wishes

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, the parents of eight-month-old Charlie Gard, in London, England. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The parents of gravely-ill baby Charlie Gard have said they will mount an appeal after a British judge ruled that doctors could stop life-support treatment for the child against their wishes, a lawyer for the Gards has said.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London say eight-month-old Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, should move to a palliative care regime.

However, Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, of Bedfont, west London, want to be allowed to take Charlie to a hospital in the US for a treatment trial.

On Tuesday, Mr Justice Nicholas Francis ruled with the "heaviest of hearts" that life-support treatment should stop, after analysing evidence at a hearing in the High Court in London and visiting Charlie in hospital.


Mitochondrial disease

Charlie, who was born on August 4th, 2016, has a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

His parents launched an appeal on the GoFundMe website two months ago, saying they needed £1.2 million (about €1.4 million) to fund the US treatment.

They reached their target on Sunday, after more than 80,000 people donated.

After hearing the judge's decision, barrister Pravin Fernando told the judge that the couple wanted to challenge his ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Solicitor Laura Hobey-Hamsher said outside the court that the couple would have three weeks to launch a challenge.

She said: “Connie and Chris are devastated by today’s decision.

“They are struggling to understand why the court has not at least given Charlie the chance of treatment in America.”

Lawyers representing Great Ormond Street said treatment would continue until appeal decisions had been made.